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Effect Of Habitat Structural Complexity On Collembolan Communities

Seikoh Saitoh, Saori Fujii, H. Takeda
Published 2013 · Biology

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We investigated soil microarthropod communities in two physically dissimilar inorganic soil materials and in a mixture of these two materials to examine the effect of the structural complexity of a habitat on microarthropod abundance and communities, teasing it out from that of nutritional factors. Mesh boxes were filled with perlite (a highly porous material), similar size of granite gravels (no pores inside), or their mixture, and placed on a forest floor. The boxes were collected after 8 or 20 months, and the microarthropods were extracted and identified to the species level, with a focus on Collembola. We also evaluated fine-root biomass and the amount of organic matter in the boxes. It was found that the mixture of perlite and granite enhanced microarthropod abundance and root development. A partial redundancy analysis revealed that collembolan communities developed differently among the substrate materials. We also found that variation in the collembolan communities was related to fine-root development and the abundance of other microarthropods, implying that habitat structural complexity affects collembolan communities indirectly by affecting soil food webs.
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